Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Will new tourism secretary Parvez Dewan be a game-changer?

Parvez Dewan as ITDC chairman (File Photo)
FOR Parvez Dewan, the new tourism secretary and 1977 batch Jammu and Kashmir cadre IAS, it’s like a homecoming. Between April 2006 and December 2009, Dewan was the chairman of India Tourism Development Corporation, a post currently held by a seasoned politician. So, who is Parvez Dewan, and why he is brought into the tourism ministry by shifting out the incumbent? Here is more:
If you open the Government of India’s tourism ministry site, what appears as a default in the home page is a decade-old policy document called National Tourism Policy, 2002. And that speaks volumes. For the last few years, new ideas have come in, but those are incremental in nature, and definitely not game-changers. How long Indian tourism sector thrives on a few old taglines such as “Incredible India” and “Atithi Devo Bhavah”? Dewan, who has 25 months to retire, is expected to overhaul the current regime and map out new course of action for India Tourism 2.0
The fund is, however, not an issue. The working group for 12th Plan on tourism, for example, recommended an allocation of Rs 22,800 crore for the development and promotion of tourism during the 12th Five Year Plan as compared to Rs 5,156 crore allocated during 11th Five Year Plan. The final Plan document is likely to be made public soon. For 2012-13, Rs 1,210 crore was already allocated.
Originally hailing from Delhi, Parvez Dewan had a long innings in Kashmir in 1980s and 1990s, except a four-year-long period in the department of economic affairs under finance ministry. He was deputy commissioner of Jammu, secretary of Ladakh Affairs Planning and Development, and the state’s tourism secretary. Dewan’s appointment as Union tourism secretary may serve yet another purpose. Kashmir valley, which used to be the paradise in the Indian tourism map, may turn a hotspot once more.

Action and Appointments
a) Vishwapati Trivedi, a 1977 batch MP cadre IAS, presently secretary, ministry of mines has been appointed as Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India in the rank and pay of secretary in place of Ms Bhupinder Prasad, a 1976 batch UT cadre IAS who has retired.
b) RH Khwaja, a 1976 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS, has been appointed as secretary, ministry of mines.
c) Ramesh Abhishek, a 1982 batch Bihar cadre IAS, presently Member, Forward Markets Commission, has been appointed as Chairman, Forward Markets Commission in the rank and pay of additional secretary.

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